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Thread: What else should I fix/replace while the center console & and binnacle is out?

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    What else should I fix/replace while the center console & and binnacle is out?

    I've got the center console, radio face plate, and binnacle out of my car now to repair damage related to a radio theft. Here are things I'm already planning to fix/replace:

    • Replace the bent face plate with a spare provided from another owner.
    • Install new DIN style radio head unit.
    • Replace all the interior light bulbs with LED upgrades.
    • Replace original headlight switch with upgraded switch & relay.
    • Replace shift boot and frame with new replacement from PJ Grady.
    • Replace broken turn signal / high beam switch. (Small plastic piece snapped inside which holds the high beam selection in position.)


    I am considering the possibility of rebuilding the heater control vacuum switch while I'm in there, but I'm undecided on that one. Also, I might attempt to re-dye some or all of the grey vinyl since I've got a bunch of it out and accessible right now. (I'm fortunate that most of my original vinyl is in good shape with no cracking yet...)

    Is there anything else I should replace, repair, or check while things are accessible right now?

    Thanks for your input!
    -Luke

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    If your original headlight switch still works, you can just install the relay from
    DPNW (called the "Headlight Saver"). It's $10, so you can save yourself some money, and the new switches don't press in farther on the second push when the headlights turn on like the originals do. Not a big deal, but some are more picky than others :P
    -Derrin

    5786: DPI cams and cat-less exhaust, galvanized and powder coated manual frame for a proper 5-speed conversion

    3196 - My wife's DeLorean: DMCH new build, DPI rebuilt engine with performance cams and exhaust

    1956 Oldsmobile Super 88
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  3. #3
    Senior Member DavidProehl's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have the big stuff under control. As long as the binnacle is out you could also lubricate the upper speedo cable.
    David Proehl

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmruschell
    If your original headlight switch still works, you can just install the relay from DPNW (called the "Headlight Saver").
    Actually, my switch was starting to act up... I was pleasantly surprised when I found the DMC headlight switch kit which I forgot about in my misc. parts box. I bought many years ago, but never installed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidProehl View Post
    Sounds like you have the big stuff under control. As long as the binnacle is out you could also lubricate the upper speedo cable.
    That's a good call on the speedo cable... Do you happen to know what kind of lubrication I should use? Could I use something similar to what I might choose for a bike brake/shift cable? (Tri-Flow, for example)

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    Senior Member DavidProehl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lsoasey View Post
    That's a good call on the speedo cable... Do you happen to know what kind of lubrication I should use? Could I use something similar to what I might choose for a bike brake/shift cable? (Tri-Flow, for example)
    I don't recall what I used, and I'm out of town right now to check what the brand name is, but it is some kind of graphite/oil mix that was intended for lubricating cables. I'm out of town for 2 weeks so it might be a while before I can confirm what I used.
    David Proehl

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    Quote Originally Posted by lsoasey View Post
    Is there anything else I should replace, repair, or check while things are accessible right now?
    Repair:

    - Your tripmeter reset shaft if it has been snapped off.

    - If your centre arm rest area seems pushed down and interfering with the window switch operation or placement, you can build it up slightly from underneath using wood or whatever to support your arm or the next guy who leans heavily on it.

    Replace:

    - Your cigar lighter/power outlet with one that fits nowadays North American plugs and doesn't spit them out upon hitting the first bump in the road after you plug it in. The GoWesty vanagon website sells a nice replacement for only about $20 and you get a new green lighted plastic ring with it too.

    Check:

    - Condition of wiring and insulation. Harness sections or individual. Ensure nothing has been rubbing on a sharp metal edge and if it has, repair insulation wrap on that wire. When reinstalling, keep everything neat and organized. It'll minimize cut wires as well as rattles.

    - Confirm correct operation of each of your instrument cluster bulbs. You can do this carefully while the binnacle is out and you connect the two electrical connectors while leaving yourself room to access each bulb if it isn't coming on or needs to be replaced. You can clean the contacts of each item on the back of the circuit board if you choose, just do it gently. The interior bulbs on the cluster are easy to check (switched to LED perhaps for you?). The warning lights are mostly easy. Turn signals, headlights and highbeams, door ajar, parking brake, etc. Turning the ignition key as far as accessories should also illuminate the battery light and oil pressure light. It is important for the battery bulb to come on in order for your car to charge correctly via the alternator (don't change this one to an LED if you are doing warning lights also, your battery won't charge with an LED in this spot). You can simulate the low fuel light by removing the sender from the tank and letting the slider inside fall passed the low level point where the light comes on. Or don't bother if this gets a bit messy for you. Not sure how to test the Lambda light. It's a useless feature in reality anyway. Change your O2 sensor when you think you've driven 30,000 miles, or sooner if you like. There, you don't need a light bulb for it.

    - Good advice on lubing the upper speedo cable. I don't know what the official lube should be either, but what you mentioned about lubing a bike cable sounds about right to me.

    - When you are reassembling, check what nuts and bolts and brackets you have compared to the parts diagram. You might/will be missing some that got misplaced before you bought your car. Also check that your rubber sleeves went on properly to connect the centre air vents to the source behind there. They aren't the easiest things to snug on properly so double check that when you go to put things all together again.

    - If you drive a stick shift, check the extra hot green wire under the shift boot that is generally cut back and wrapped in tape as it was for the PRND21 illumination on the auto but manuals got one too. Just not with a bulb on it. It's live so just see that it isn't rubbing on anything.

    Clean:

    - The electrical ground point at the bottom right hand corner of the radio/console bracket. About five different grounds all combine there with one of those leads heading back to the fuse/relay area to ultimately meet a ground. Clean the bolt and each connector surface while things are apart.

    - General tidy up of things while apart. Vacuum up little bits of grime or bugs or crumbs. Remove any foreign items like 1981 pennies, clips or other odds and ends that shouldn't be in there.

    That's probably lots for now until you do it all over again upon the next thing going wonky under there. Have fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    That's probably lots for now until you do it all over again upon the next thing going wonky under there. Have fun.
    Thanks, Jonathan, for the detailed list!

    Your comments about the cigar lighter/power outlet reminded me that mine is stuck from what I think is corrosion and old age. I wouldn't mind replacing it with something that might actually be functional as a power source if it is needed. I'll check out the GoWesty vanagon website.

    I am replacing all the of binnacle lights, and fortunately I had seen the tip elsewhere the the battery bulb should remain as-is with the original incandescent bulb. What strange engineering shortcoming or oversight...

    I also like your suggestion to consult the parts manual as I put everything back together. I've already noticed a couple missing nuts under there... Who knows what else might be missing.

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    Senior Member EdR5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    The GoWesty vanagon website sells a nice replacement for only about $20 and you get a new green lighted plastic ring with it too.
    Quote Originally Posted by lsoasey View Post
    Your comments about the cigar lighter/power outlet reminded me that mine is stuck from what I think is corrosion and old age. I wouldn't mind replacing it with something that might actually be functional as a power source if it is needed. I'll check out the GoWesty vanagon website.
    ...or you can buy a power outlet for $3.59:
    http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?96...arette-lighter
    ~Eddie, VIN 16908

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    Luke,

    Not to be nosy but you mentioned radio theft. How did the thieves get in the car? Any exterior or other damage?


    Quote Originally Posted by lsoasey View Post
    I've got the center console, radio face plate, and binnacle out of my car now to repair damage related to a radio theft. Here are things I'm already planning to fix/replace:

    • Replace the bent face plate with a spare provided from another owner.
    • Install new DIN style radio head unit.
    • Replace all the interior light bulbs with LED upgrades.
    • Replace original headlight switch with upgraded switch & relay.
    • Replace shift boot and frame with new replacement from PJ Grady.
    • Replace broken turn signal / high beam switch. (Small plastic piece snapped inside which holds the high beam selection in position.)


    I am considering the possibility of rebuilding the heater control vacuum switch while I'm in there, but I'm undecided on that one. Also, I might attempt to re-dye some or all of the grey vinyl since I've got a bunch of it out and accessible right now. (I'm fortunate that most of my original vinyl is in good shape with no cracking yet...)

    Is there anything else I should replace, repair, or check while things are accessible right now?

    Thanks for your input!
    -Luke

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtdmc View Post
    Not to be nosy but you mentioned radio theft. How did the thieves get in the car? Any exterior or other damage?
    Fortunately, there was no exterior damage. There is a bit of a mystery about when and where the theft actually happened. I moved from Oregon to Colorado, but my car stayed garaged in Oregon until my house there was finally sold. My Realtor was keeping an eye on things, including the car. I wasn't able to be at the Oregon end when it eventually came time to ship the car. The guy with the shipping company and my Realtor said nothing looked out of the ordinary when the truck came to pick it up. When it showed up at my house on the Colorado end, I immediately noticed that the radio was missing along with the related damage to the center console and radio face plate. This was obviously a very disheartening discovery to make.

    There are two possibilities in my mind:
    1. The theft happen while it was still in the garage in Oregon -- The shipping guy and my Realtor just didn't notice or care.
    2. The car was broken into while in-transit to Colorado. (It was an open trailer setup...bad choice in hindsight.)


    To make it worse, the shipping company would not accept any responsibility because there was no exterior damage. My insurance company didn't want to cover it because I couldn't show proof about where or when it happened. I probably could have pushed the matter further, but I eventually decided that I could probably fix everything for less money out of my own pocket after accounting for the insurance deductible and any other legal hassles that would have been necessary.

    The fun never ends...

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